Friday, December 31, 2010

Hockey ends 2010 on a high note and other links

In their final game of 2010, the Hockey team beat Mercyhurst 4-1. The win sealed the Ledyard Classic title. With the World Juniors wrapping up, the team will be at full strength soon and are poised for another championship spring.


Kind of a cool look at the development of BC Football Camp brochures.


Although our recruiting class is starting to fill up, things still look promising for Brandon Clemons.


As expected Don Treadwell took the Miami of Ohio job. If he does well there, he will certainly be candidate to replace Spaz in a few years.

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Could another Raji play football at the Heights?


Could Corey make this catch in traffic with a football and pads?

Two things this week got me thinking about Corey Raji trying football in 2011. First was seeing Jimmy Graham put on a good show during Monday Night Football. The second was reading about Steve Donahue talking about Corey's smooth stroke. The reality is that Corey is probably not going to play in the NBA. While he is a good defender and college rebounder, he doesn't have the handle to be a wing in the NBA, nor the size to play in the interior. He could probably make a go of it in Europe but that is not a given.



However, very few borderline pro hoops prospects have brothers who were first round NFL Draft picks. BJ and his burgeoning success has got to be a model for Corey. BJ is making more playing football than Corey ever could make playing hoops in Europe. Plus Corey has a slight understanding of the physicality of football. I know that is not the same as getting hit yourself, but it does count for something.


Now if Corey decided to play football, his natural position might be an issue. Would he be a WR? A Tight End? Maybe a Defensive End? With such a limited window to try football, I think Spaz and his staff would have to give him a quick tryout at each position and see which one he gravitates towards. If he can't catch, then you put him on D, etc.


Could Spaz even use him? That is another question. We have decent depth at WR and TE. Corey might not even see the field. While we have some nice experience returning at DE, Corey might be able to work himself into that rotation. Does Spaz have a scholarship for him? Maybe. It looks like we will max out on the recruiting class, but a kid is bound to leave or wash out before fall practices begin. If it really came down to cost, I am sure BJ would pick up the tab for Corey to be a football walkon for one semester.


Although Corey is a good athlete, he could have a really strong year in football and still not get a shot at the NFL. It might not be worth the trouble or potential injury, but it would be a fun end to the Raji family's time at the Heights.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

URI provides wake up call just in time for ACC play

Riding high, getting national publicity, thinking about the postseason and then pow, we lose a tough game on the road. Don't worry though, there were still some good takeaways and lessons. I also think Rhode Island will be a decent loss when the season is over. I don't think they are a tourney team, but they are certainly better than some of the terrible teams other ACC teams have lost to already.


Likes

-- Trapani's improved shooting. I've been harping on Joe's clunkers, so it is only fair that I mention a night when he was hot. If not for foul trouble he would have had more points.
-- Solid rebounding. Rebounding can be a deceptive stat -- especially rebound differential -- but BC put up a solid number and generated some good second chances.
-- Second half comeback. BC was down going into the break and started the second half with a nice run. Those are the sort of momentum shifts we will need later in the season.


Dislikes

-- Turnovers! Everyone was guilty, but especially Reggie. Against a team like URI, which can score in bunches, that is dangerous. You hope that with a healthier Paris this wouldn't be an issue.
-- Defensive lapses. Based on the recaps, twitter feeds, and audio broadcasts, it seemed like URI got plenty of good looks. We also didn't generate many turnovers and had zero blocks.


This makes the South Carolina game this weekend much more critical. We need another nice out of conference win for our resume. This team has shown the ability to put losses behind them. Let's hope they do it again against the Gamecocks.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

It's been 31 days since we played football and we still have 12 days to go. This will be the longest streak between BC games within one season ever. As a BC fan we are conditioned for a bowl game right about now. This year is a little different. We will have the longest layoff of any team in college football. Some perspective:


Days between BC's games with Syracuse and Nevada: 43 days
Days between Oregon's last game and the BCS national championship: 37 days
Days between Auburn's last game and the BCS national championship: 37 days
Days between Nevada's games with La Tech and BC: 36 days
Days between BC's 2007 ACCCG appearance and the 2007 Champs Bowl: 27 days


Number of games BC played between October 2 and November 13 (42 days): 7


Since Nevada has a long layoff, I don't think the gap will negatively hurt our team. I am just worried about other BC fans like me. We might have to watch some of these meaningless bowl games just to remember what college football looks like.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Late Christmas present from Spaz

This rumor has been floating around for a while, but tonight it is official: Albert Louis-Jean is coming to BC. This is big for a lot of reasons. It keeps a top Massachusetts prospect home. It gives us a potential difference maker in our thinning defensive secondary. It also shows that Spaz and Company can close on a guy who was a Miami commit. ALJ decommitted when the Canes fired Randy Shannon, but BC still had to sell him on the program and on the advantages of playing close to home.


He is expected to enroll early and will hopefully make an impact in 2011. Let's hope this is a sign that BC is going to close their recruiting class with a bang.

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Pundits getting on the hoops bandwagon and other links

With the heart of the ACC schedule about to begin, the pundits are resetting their expectations for BC. Most see us in the top half of the conference. Even in a down year a good ACC performance should get us into the Tournament. Let's start talking bubble!


Nevada fans are pumped up for this game. This is going to feel like another one of our virtual road games.


ESPN.com put together a cool feature for their All America team. Of course Kuechly made the team.


I get more and more impressed when I read things like this about Steve Donahue. Most -- including someone like me -- would have looked at the previous stats and dismissed the chance of turning some of the guys into outside shooters. Instead Donahue looked at their form and asked for practice. It is paying off.


I don't know what Herzy plans to do after football, but maybe he should go into recruiting (or at least sales). The guy is a closer.


This is an interesting report regarding TV ratings for bowl games. Ironically some of the ACC teams deemed to have the best fans are not good TV draws. BC is not listed as the biggest TV draw but we usually cause year over year ratings improvements.


Finally, a look at the bubble going up. This is cool but I still think we need a permanent, football-only practice facility.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Kreider off to good start at World Juniors and other links

While most of the hockey team is off for the break, Chris Kreider, Brian Dumoulin, and Patrick Wey are part of Team USA at the IIHF World Junior Championship. In the US's opening game Kreider assisted on one of the US's goals in a 2-1 win over Finland. The tournament continues into January while BC's season restarts the 30th against Colgate.


Call it bitterness. Call it motivation. Call it redemption, but Dominique Davis is using his BC experience to succeed at East Carolina. I actually am rooting for the kid and glad he got his act together.


Great article on Reggie Jackson in the Globe. We sort of knew his story prior to the year but as the team grows and surprises I expect we will learn more and more about our star guard.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Hotel issues in San Fran and other links

Host cities usual dread BC because of our travel reputation. This year our small (but spirited) crew might be just what San Francisco needs. The new date of the bowl game is bumping up against a huge series of biomed conferences in the city and hotels rooms are scarce. For those who don't know the area, if you can't find a hotel in the city, just work your way south down the peninsula. There are plenty of nice hotels and the drive to the park is pretty easy from the south bay.


The second portion of this video shows how the BC hockey teams made a difference with a local special needs hockey team.


BC commit Kyle Caudill more than held his own against one of California's top teams.

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Missing Mele Kalikimaka



[The following is a little history lesson for those younger BC fans.]

In the old days, when bowls still meant something, the college football postseason kicked off on Christmas Day with Aloha Bowl. BC played in the game twice and it was the prefect for us.


Why was the game perfect? Because it provided everything we needed and didn't ask much of BC in return.


We can whine about Boise or Detroit, but at the end of the day none of us actually have to go to these games. The player and coaches do. A trip to Hawaii was rare and a true treat. The guys got a unique experience and warm weather.


The game actually provided a showcase for BC. This was the first bowl game of the year and it was on ABC on Christmas Day. There was nothing else on. Millions of desperate sports fans tuned in just to get their football fix. And for BC fans it was great. The games were afternoons kickoffs, so you could open your presents, have a little family bonding and then watch BC. There was no juggling of schedules or figuring out where you were going to be for some random, midday weekday kickoff.


Plus we played real teams. In 1994, Kansas State was ranked and favored before our defense tore them apart. Like us, Arizona State squeaked into the 2000 Aloha Bowl, but at least they were a name from a power conference.


Playing in Hawaii also meant BC wasn't expected to travel. Few schools did. We just needed to provide a solid TV rating (which we always do).


Finally Hawaii just looked great and fun on TV. The scenic shots in and out of commercials made you feel warm. I wanted to hop on a plane after seeing Dan Henning in a Hawaiian shirt or watching TOB try to hula.


We played in the last Aloha Bowl. The official NCAA certification ended and was later replaced by the Hawaii Bowl. But the Hawaii Bowl is not different though. It is basically an extra home game for the University of Hawaii and is rarely on Christmas Day. Maybe one day BC will find themselves in this newer bastardized version of the Aloha game again, but it won't be the same. None of it is the same...I guess for Christmas I should ask Santa for an NCAA playoff with a championship game in Honolulu.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Getting by Bucknell

When the team lost to Yale earlier this year, many wondered if we would struggle against teams with less talent but more mental toughness. Tonight's win over Bucknell was a sign that this team can respond to less-talented teams' "A" games. It was a frustrating game in the sense that the guys didn't play well but also didn't play poorly.


Likes

-- Another well rounded effort from Josh Southern. Very positive minutes from our big man with few mistakes. Is he becoming our second best player?
-- Paris remains hot from outside. Four big 3s, plus he also had seven assists.
-- Making our free throws. Especially important in the final minutes.


Dislikes

-- No ability to shut down Bryson Johnson. This guy was hot and nailing threes. Yet we never did anything to shut him down? No fronting. No doubles. Allowing him to get good looks from 3 felt Skinner-esque.
-- Raji's shooting. I know he hit some big outside shots, but I don't know if he should be chucking 3s. Maybe he should be closer to the basket to get some points off of putbacks.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Alex Murphy update and other links

The other day on Twitter I got a few people excited when I speculated that Erik Murphy's limited playing time might lead him to transfer to BC. While that was speculation, his younger brother Alex Murphy remains a real possibility for BC. Outside of BC, most of the other schools still on Alex's list are traditional basketball powers. But if the brothers want to play together, BC might be their best chance. And our new style certainly plays to their strengths. But let me restate this Murphy Brother talk is all still speculation.


On the football front, BC picked up another commitment. This time from upstate New York Safety Josh Keyes.


BC told NJ WR Mike DeTroia that he might get a scholarship offer late in the process.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Don't read too much into the Spaz extension

The big news of the day is that BC extended Spaz's contract until 2015. Of course everyone overreacted along the usual party lines. Either this was the greatest thing ever or the worst. The reality is that it was a meaningless public relations move. Sure it makes firing Spaz a little more expensive, but this won't be an obstacle to anything. All is does is placate recruits. If you think it means anything beyond the publicity, take a look at two recent examples.

Clemson

December 4, 2007: Clemson signs Tommy Bowden to a contract extension.


October 13, 2008: Tommy Bowden forced to resign.

Miami

May 12, 2010: Miami signs Randy Shannon to a new, four-year contract.


November 27, 2010: Miami dismisses Randy Shannon.


The Future

I don't think Spaz will be fired within the next year like Bowden or Shannon. But I am 100% certain he will not be coaching BC in 2015 (the final year of this extension).


There are a couple of things you must remember in all of this.
1. We have a very competitive and often meddling Athletic Director. If you were unhappy with the losing streak, imagine how Gene felt. He will be loyal publicly and will temper expectations publicly, but that doesn't mean that he found this season's low acceptable.
2. Any buyout or payment to Spaz built into this contract would never keep BC from doing something. In fact, you could rationalize any buyout with an uptick in ticket sales. Just do some back of the envelope math. Let's say we struggle with attendance again and on the season fall short of a sellout by 5,000 tickets sold each week. Go conservative and factor in just a six game schedule. Then go conservative again and factor in a $20 in revenue per ticket unsold. Now using just those potential lost crowds and rounded numbers have unexciting, mediocre football costing BC $600,000+ in revenue per year.


As I said on twitter, I took this announcement as being a sign that Gene and Spaz are probably on the same page for now. I expect a staff small staff tweak this offseason.


Ultimately I think Spaz's future -- regardless of his contract -- will remain year to year. With his age and his boss you can't expect anything else

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

BC beats Bryant and other links

As expected BC handled Bryant. Not much to take away. If you want to nitpick you could criticize the early defense that allowed Bryant to keep it close early. Most of the guys shot well. Biko Paris and Josh Southern kept up their high level of play. Reggie was Reggie. Our next two games will be better tests for the ACC season.


Here is a Q&A with Jared Dudley. He mentions coaching at BC, but refers to the job as a stepping stone. Et tu, Jared?


Now that Pitt has a new coach, BC is trying to talk one of their commits Terrell Chestnut into coming to Boston.

Ohio lineman Joe Thuney is still waiting on a BC offer.

Future BC QB Christian Suntrup is playing basketball for his high school. That sort of athleticism is usually a good sign of a recruits athleticism.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Paris is Burning (from 3)

The BCI guys noted our increase in 3s attempted and made. The jump in production shouldn't have been much of a surprise given Donahue's history and stated goals. What is a surprise to me, is the Biko Paris's improved efficiency from 3.

Paris has never been a threat from beyond the arc. Although he converted 37% of his 3 attempts as a sophomore, his career average prior to this year was 30%. The most 3s he had ever made in a season was 14. He's already made 19 this season!


Donahue's system deserves some credit for the improvement. Plus the general maturity is a factor. I guess the biggest explanation for the improvement is Biko's work on 3s during the offseason. Supposedly it was a focus and he shot hundreds a day. Unfortunately too many guys ignore their deficiencies in the offseason. I am glad to see Biko did not. If he keeps up this pace during ACC play, BC will have done something rare: replaced a serviceable player with a killer offensive weapon without making a roster change.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Respect for Donahue and other links

No one really panned the Steve Donahue hiring in non-BC circles. Most expected him to be fine. Few thought the change would pay such early dividends. The guys at the ACC Sports Journal have noticed and are on the Donahue bandwagon.


The Boston Gridiron Club added to Harris, Keuchly and Castanzo's list of accolades.


HD thinks Rettig needs to step up in the Bowl game. I'm interested in his progression too. With a month to prepare, a game in his home state and facing a porous defense, this could be a chance to Rettig to shine. HD is also expecting Rettig's experience to pay off in 2011.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another St. X verbal and other links

There are many things we do owe TOB thanks for like stability, finding good staffers, beating Notre Dame, but the gift that kids on giving is the pipeline to St. Xavier in Cincinnati. The latest Bomber to commit to the Eagles is Steven Daniels. Daniels is expected to play linebacker at BC like his current teammate Sean Duggan and former teammate Luke Keuchly.


As Daniels committed, rumors popped up that another BC verbal Christian Suntrup was waivering. Rivals reached out and Christian says he is still on board and loves BC.


Josh Haden and his younger brother will restart their college careers at Toledo.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another All American and other links

After being named to a variety of All America teams, Luke Kuechly finally got confirmation that he made the AP's All America team. The AP's team serves as the official list for college football. Congrats to Luke. It was certainly well deserved. One side note: did people realize that BC has only had 10 first teamers on the list in our history? And no honorees between Mike Cloud and Jamie Silva. Considering our success, that is a surprising stat.


The ACC named Reggie Jackson its player of the week.


Articles keep saying that BC has already sold 5,000 ticket for the Bowl game. That's encouraging. My fear though is that the article misinterpreted BC's commitment vs actual ticket sales.


Bubble alert and it is only December. Lunardi has us in the big dance.


Rivals named KPL to their freshman team. They honored Nate Freese too.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

The TOB tree is taking over the ACC

Since I've been tracking this for a while, it is time again to look back on Tom O'Brien's first staff. Now in the 12-team ACC 25% of the conference is coached by TOB's proteges. Now this sort of six degrees game can be played on many coaching staffs, but TOB deserves credit for finding these guys in 1997 and happenstance deserves a little credit for all of them ending up in one conference 13 years later.

Then (1997)

Tom O'Brien.
Relatively unknown coordinator from Virginia set to begin his first head coaching job at Boston College.
Frank Spaziani. TOB's old colleague from Navy and Virginia. Had been in the witness protection program (his own joke) coaching defense in the CFL. TOB brought him back to the States to be his first running backs coach at BC.
Al Golden. BC was Golden's first official college football job. Amazingly TOB named him recruiting coordinator too. (Can you imagine a BCS program naming a totally untested kid recruiting coordinator now?). But Golden had impressed TOB enough while a GA at Virginia to give him such a crucial role at BC.
Mike London. London had a little more experience than Golden, but it wasn't screaming "Big Time" job. He had been a position coach at William & Mary and Richmond before TOB gave him his first DIA job working as BC's defensive line coach.


Now (2010)

Tom O'Brien. After becoming BC's all-time winningest coach, TOB left to be the head coach at NC State.
Frank Spaziani. Spaz moved from RB to the defensive side of the ball in TOB's third year. From there he shaped years of successful BC defenses before becoming the head man himself in 2009.
Al Golden. The ever ambitious Golden left BC to head recruiting at Penn State. Then it was onto UVA before becoming a head coach at Temple and now Miami.
Mike London. Like Goldon, London was certainly ambitious and made stops along the way at Virginia and the NFL. He won a national championship at Richmond and is now at Virginia.


I should also note that in 1997 TOB also gave Michigan State Offensive Coordinator Don Treadwell and former BC coach Jeff Jagodzinski their first BCS level jobs.


I don't know what it says about the ACC or TOB that all these guys got their first big break at the same time. It is also interesting to note that after building his first BC staff with young, aggressive coaches, TOB has stuck with a more mature and loyal staff since.

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In defense of a good offense

Many BC fans hated Skinner's flex. I loved it. When Donahue arrived people welcomed the move to Motion but still had concerns that his reliance on the 3 would be exposed in the ACC. It still might be exposed but as yesterday's win over Maryland showed when that when you have a relentless, efficient and slightly unconventional offense, you can beat anyone on your schedule. We got up early with the 3. We bought minutes with our bench with the 3. We muted Maryland runs with the 3. And in the end we closed the game out with a big 3. It was fun to watch and I think will start to get fans excited. But outside of excitement, I love the pressure it put on Maryland. There is nothing more frustrating in sports to a player then when you think you are better than your opponent but they keep hanging around.

We made 13 3-point baskets yesterday. Maryland followed those thirteen makes with six pointless possessions. They made one foul shot. Four two point baskets and only answered a 3 with their own three twice.


It wasn't all perfect though. The press gave us a bit of trouble. After a hot start Rubin cooled off a bit and didn't do much defensively. We struggled with their bigs. And Josh Southern -- who has looked so good passing out of the post -- forced some bad shots.


The statistical gurus are loving it all though. Check out Kenpom's tweets during the game.


Now our style is not perfect or particularly balanced (see Yale) but our tough early schedule has proven that we can and will hang with anyone. It also showed that we are going to be fun to watch.

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Another honor for Kuechly and other links

The Football Writers Association of America named Luke Kuechly to their All America team. It is Luke's second nation team honor and a good indicator that he will make the AP's team.


I don't know if it is good ol' BC luck or if he is just off to a good start, but Danny Rubin's play has been much better than expected. What's crazy is that Donahue was slow playing him at Cornell and Rubin was ready to walk on at Colgate. Now he is burying jumpers for an ACC team.


BJ Raji made huge strides this season.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Nevada sells their tickets and other links

Our Bowl game is technically a neutral site affair, but it will feel like a Nevada home game. The Wolf Pack fans sold out their original allotment of 11,000 seats and have sold an additional 4,000 tickets. I don't have an official count from BC but I can assure you we are well behind that pace. This is as expected though since Reno to San Francisco is an easy drive and this is Nevada's first drivable bowl game. Plus they are coming off the Boise win. I don't think the atmosphere will make a big difference. The silver lining though is we can continue to tell Bowls that although we don't sell a lot of tickets directly, we generate interest locally and among opposing fans.


Here is a story from a few days ago on John Cahill one of our walkons receiving serious playing time.


Although he didn't win many individual national awards, Luke Kuechly was named to the Walter Camp team.


This Maryland blog has a good early take on our basketball team. I can't wait for the game against the Terps on Sunday. We've shown we can beat some quality teams, but this game will show if we can be competitive within the upper half of the ACC.

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

New offensive coordinators: real and imagined

When you are 108th in total offense nationally and last in scoring within your conference, making a change at Offensive Coordinator seems like a smart move. When your offensive coordinator turns 71 in the spring, having a new name in mind makes sense. Yet Rivals.com Mike Farrell is predicting that Gary Tranquill will return to BC as offensive coordinator in 2011. Let me say that this is the opposite of everything I have heard. I was always told that Tranq was taking it year to year and unlikely to return. Even in the past few weeks I have heard that Tranq would be retiring again. The only gossip I've heard that might support what Farrell is saying is that Spaz would like Tranq to come back. But everyone else, including Tranq himself, is thinking retirement. Regardless, I will stick to my prediction that Tranq will retire.


But the pending change leads us into one of the great parlor games of the BC offseason: picking our new offensive coordinator. I always assumed it would be current WR coach Ryan Day. Many said Spaz preferred current TE coach Dave Brock. Now there is speculation that internal promotions would be fallback options and Spaz would rather bring in an outsider. So here are some real candidates and some speculative and satirical ones.

Real

Ryan Day

Pros: Considered bright young coach with head coach potential. Worked with some of the most influential offensive minds in football.
Cons: Never called a game before. No one knows how or what he would tweak from our current system.


Dave Brock

Pros: Has called plays at this level. Key recruiter for our current and future QBs. Would run an offense most similar to Tranq's.
Cons: Would run an offense most similar to Tranq's. Brock sat next to Tranq in the box while this offense sputtered along. That does not disqualify him, but it makes you wonder if he would have done anything differently.


Sean Devine

Pros: Has called a game before. Knows how to run a wide open, high tempo offense.
Cons: Never called plays at this level. Just because he followed Chip Kelly and has Chip Kelly's playbook doesn't mean he can make BC into Oregon. Mixed results coaching our OLine.


Ben Sirmans

Pros: While he doesn't have the BC roots as deep as Ryan Day, like Day, Sirmans is a well regarded coach who has been around many good offensive systems.
Cons: Never called plays. Never designed an offense.


Frank Cignetti, Jr.
Pros: Suddenly looking for a job after Pitt cleaned house. Followed Tranq at UNC so he knows how to follow him and transition to his system. Has a prostyle and balanced attack that would fit with our current roster. Would be the outside name that many desire.
Cons: No connection to Spaz. Pitt's offense has been criticized for many of the same issues we have (redzone, boring style, etc).


Matt Canada
Pros: Probably out of a job at Indiana. Runs a pass happy sort of prostyle offense. Led the Big Ten in passing.
Cons: No connection to BC. No connection to New England. No connection to Spaz. The reason I mention him is that he is the type of guy who might be available and he has called plays before and could probably elevate the play of our current QBs.


Noel Mazzone

Pros: Current Arizona State OC. Has called plays at a BCS level. May be looking for work depending how the dominoes in the coaching carousel fall. Worked with Gene's son while at the Jets. Runs a pro style that would fit our roster.
Cons: No obvious connection to Spaz. No connection to New England. Might not want to job hop.


Imagined

Mark Whipple
Pros: Proven play caller. Knows the region well. Knows the ACC. Runs a style of play that would fit for BC.
Cons: Miami had inconsistency issues too. [This was floated to me as a real possibility but I can't ever see it happening. I don't think Whipple would come back and work for Gene. I don't know if Whipple would work at a place where he could have been Head Coach. I also don't know if Spaz would welcome someone who, if he succeeds, could be a threat to take Spaz's job.]


Paul Peterson

Pros: Passing Game coordinator for a FCS school. Alum.
Cons: No BCS experience. No FBS experience. [A blogger can dream, can't he? If you are going to go with an young unproven guy, you go with Day.]


John DeFilippo
Pros: NFL and college experience. Could run a prostyle offense. Knows BC. Worked with some of the current staffers.
Cons: No play calling experience. [Jags considered hiring John D when he first came aboard but everyone thought it wasn't the right time or situation. Now? What the hell? Everyone thinks Gene is calling the shots. Let's just take it to the next level!]


Galen Hall

Pros: Play calling experience. Seasoned veteran. Can run different types of offenses. Turns 71 in August as opposed to April baby Tranq.
Cons: Wouldn't lower the average age of current staff. [If Spaz's wants an outsider with experience to match Tranq, Hall is his only answer...who is still alive.]


As I said, I expect Tranq to retire and Brock or Day to get the job. I hope that if Spaz does look outside the current staff he makes a hire who won't try to change everything. We have the pieces in place to take big leaps forward offensively. I would hate to start from scratch again.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Some new and some deja vu in Providence win

I've listened to plenty of BC basketball games over the years that felt endlessly frustrating as we squandered late leads and barely hung on at the end. Everyone attributed it to Skinner's game management. Maybe we, as BC fans, are just cursed. BC sports will cause tension, high blood pressure and anxiety. But it is worth it when we win...like tonight.


Likes

--BC's tempo. A lot has been made about Donahue's style. We've seen moments of it, but tonight was probably the best example. We put up a good amount of shots and forced Providence to play our style much of the game, which we led the whole way.
-- Another impressive night from Jackson. He did it all (other than make his free throws). If he keeps it up in ACC play, he is going to get a lot of national attention.
-- No problems with a short bench. We've been playing walkons, but tonight saw our starters log big minutes. Some of them are thriving with more time (like Southern and Paris).


Dislikes

-- The final minutes. Turnovers and missed foul shots. I can only imagine how Ted Sarandis would have acted as it almost slipped away.
-- Trapani's shooting. Since I was listening not watching I don't know what the problem was, but we need more efficiency from Joe. If his shot is not falling, he needs to get his points off of rebounds and put backs.
-- Courtney Dunn's suspension. It wasn't a factor tonight, but we need his size and legs. It is stupid and selfish to get suspended.


I am very pleased with where this team is and where it is going. I think Maryland will be a real test, but if our shots are dropping there is no reason to think we cannot beat the Terps.



Dislikes

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Blogpoll ballot

I missed posting a Blogpoll ballot last week. Things just got away from me, but it did provide a nice chance at a fresh start. So for this ballot I wasn't married to any previous votes.


Games I watched
Auburn-USC 50%
Florida State-Virginia Tech 50%
Arizona-Arizona State 25%
Cincinnati-Pitt 25%
Nebraska-Oklahoma 25%


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Respect for BC and other links

I don't know if it is the Nevada factor or begrudging respect, but instead of mocking our bowl situation the pundits are respecting the matchup. Some view it as a Keuchly vs Kaepernick battle.


HD -- who is usually takes the coaching at BC takes miracles narrative -- rightly points out that much of our late season comeback was built off of a forgiving schedule. She also notes Kuechly's dominance and amazing amass of tackles.


The cool gift at the Fight Hunger Bowl is probably the headphones.


This is from the weekend, but Bob Ryan is on the Steve Donahue bandwagon.


BC is prospecting for the class of 2012 already. Another prospect is Domenic Martinelli.

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Monday, December 06, 2010

Edsall, UConn and what could have been



After the smoke cleared from the bowl scheduling I saw a few tweets and message board posts regarding Randy Edsall and UConn. There is a small contingent of media and opposing fans that like to remind BC that if we had stayed in the Big East we would have played in a BCS game by now. They also like to hint that we should have hired Randy Edsall. As a blogger and a critic I love to use and abuse hindsight, but in this case it doesn't matter. We've made plenty of mistakes along the way, but I have absolutely zero regrets about Edsall or the Big East.


Edsall the Bridesmaid

Randy Edsall was almost the BC head coach four different times. There are varied urban legends surrounding the BC-Edsall courtship. He was deemed to green to take over for Coughlin in 1994. The only admitted time he was offered the job was in 1996-97. Small problem though. Chet Gladchuk was a powerless lame duck so other people were offering the job to Kevin Gilbride and Tom O'Brien. Edsall was left with an empty promise yet no long-term bitterness towards BC. In fact he kept hoping for another chance at the Heights. Like a lot of people who have come through BC, Edsall appreciated what BC offered and saw what Coughlin did firsthand. Later, he was given a cursory look when TOB left. His folks had a more serious discussion when Jags was fired, but still Edsall was left hanging. Those failed flirtations were probably more about what Gene was looking for and less about what Randy brought to the table. Personally I think Edsall would have been fine at BC, but I've never seen anything that made me long for his leadership. I think his team's are decent, but boring. I don't particularly care for his sideline antics at times. It always looks like he is doing a bad Coughlin impression. Yet he lacks Coughlin's smarts and charm and the success that allows TC to get away with some of his ranting and raving. If Edsall had ever coached at BC I am sure he would have been fine, but I don't know if he ever would have helped us break our current ceiling.


The Big East's backdoor to the BCS

The irony of the current BCS format is that it is easier to get in from the Big East or a non-automatic qualifier school than it is to get in from the other power conferences. Add in the extra game that an SEC, Big XII or ACC team must win, and you are left with a real test, not some mini-hurdle like the Big East. But we didn't join the ACC to just to get into the BCS. The move was about money, stability, a future, partnering with like-minded schools and prestige. Staying in what became the Big East would have been a marketing, recruiting and ticket selling disaster. I still don't think the current configuration of the Big East will last. I know any current BCS team -- including UConn -- would glady trade their one trip to the BCS in exchange for a spot in the ACC. Besides, we had our chance at the Big East's joke bid and blew it.


I don't know when we will finally get into the BCS, but when we do, it won't be with an asterisk or by default. We will have earned it and the program will be better for it.

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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Why this trip to San Francisco is different



I know some of those around the program are disappointed in another trip to San Francisco but of all the potential options this might have the most upside.


At the end of the day bowls are a showcase for the team. This is a chance to close our season against a highly ranked team. It is a chance to end the season in the last game before the National Championship. It is prime time on a Sunday following NFL playoff football. Sports and football fans will watch. Last year's Boston College-USC game is the third-most-watched college bowl game in ESPN history. This should surpass that. We have a strong contingent of BC fans in Northern California. The late date should give them plenty of time to sell tickets and organize.


Nevada also offers a good test. They are explosive yet a running team. Their defense is solid, but hasn't faced a team or scheme like ours all season. It is a short trip for them, but they haven't played on this field before.


I hate having a month off but I like the idea of BC playing on a weekend night during a regular week. Those "bowl week" games get lost in the shuffle and are mostly forgettable. This won't be.


I will have more on the game, the set up and Nevada in the weeks ahead. I would love to be prepping for a Orange Bowl, but when we were 2-5 this day seemed impossible. All things considered, playing in San Francisco is a nice problem to have.

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Saturday, December 04, 2010

Run this town tonight

I will have more on the basketball team Sunday, but for now I just give them congratulations. They controlled the pace and scoring and overcame some sloppy play. Plus it was our first win in the new Garden.


The hockey team swept BU this weekend. Ho hum. Sucks to B-U.

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Friday, December 03, 2010

Hockey smashes BU and other links

We scored nine goals against BU. Yes, we scored "niiiine...times." I can't say if this will begin a nice little run for our guys, but it was fun to follow for a night.




Kristen Mewis and Victoria DiMartino were named to the 2010 NSCAA/Performance Subaru Women's NCAA D1 All-America Team. Unfortunately for the girls their season ended with a loss to Stanford Friday night.


Jack Tabb still claims that BC is still a possibility for him.

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Women's hoop record night and other links

In their end of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, the BC women took on Penn State. And like the men, they had an impressive victory, defeating PSU 113-104. It was the most points the BC women have ever scored.


Here is the latest on Albert Louis-Jean and his new suitors. I would like to see him at BC, but I expect whenever Miami makes a hire, that new coach will go hard after him. I also expect some other schools to emerge.


For those of you who missed the Herzy piece on Gameday, it is included in this link on ESPNBoston.com.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Likes and Dislikes: the Indiana win

I am a big Al Skinner fan but I agree with what Sean McDonough said at the end of the game (paraphrasing): "Steve Donahue is going to shake up Conte and sell more seats due to his style of play." Here are some of my thoughts on the game.


Likes

-- Reggie Jackson's big game. I know Donahue liked Sunday's balanced, team effort against Cal, but you can't overlook a game like this from Reggie. Here he is on national TV against a Big Ten team putting on a near flawless performance.
-- Good ball handling. I didn't expect this when Donahue arrived. Not that Donahue teams are careless, I just thought we wouldn't have the ball handlers on the roster to be so careful. I also thought the transition to a more perimeter based passing system would invite steals.
-- Josh Southern's post passing. This was a factor later in the game but I was impressed with Josh's ability to find open men and cutters. If he can do that every game our offense will become very efficient.

Dislikes

-- Trapani's off night. I know people had big expectations for Joe this season, but he seemed a bit off. I don't know the best way for him to get points, since he's not the spot shooter that say Rubin is. Maybe we should get him cutting to the basket more.
-- Dunn and Elmore's rebounding. Neither logged big minutes, but neither were much of a factor. We are lucky that Indiana is not a great rebounding team. Against better team's these guys will have to step up.


I think we are all excited, but keep Yale in the back of your mind. This team is playing well, but we will have some cold shooting nights ahead. This will be an unpredictable season...let's enjoy the ride.

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Who are the Hoosiers?

Indiana basketball hasn't been Indiana basketball of late. Coaching changes and NCAA violations left Tom Crean in a major rebuilding mode with one of college basketballs most storied programs. Of course now that Crean has added depth and has the team playing well, we pull them in the ACC-Big Ten rotation. It should be an interesting game and another good test for Donahue's team. Here are some news and notes on the new look Hoosiers in preparation for tonight's game.


Record

6-0 but it is a little hollow. They have yet to play a ranked team and have not played away from Bloomington. Their best opponent was probably Evansville.


Rating

Kenpom has the Hoosiers 58th nationally in his power rating. BC is 40th. His ratings favor us in a one on one matchup.


Style


Indiana will mix it up on defense. Crean used to play a lot of man at Marquette but doesn't really have the size at IU to do that against most teams. They rely on different zone looks. Since we are not particularly big, we may see more man to man tonight.

On offense they have some strong perimeter players. Most probably now Maurice Creek, but Christian Watford has been their leading scorer and a solid rebounder. They won't chuck a lot of threes. They are more patient and will find the higher percentage shot and are deadly with putbacks.

Pointspread

BC-5.5


What to expect

I think playing at home and playing with confidence will lead us to another win. I think we can set the tempo early and force IU to play catchup and shoot more 3s than they would like. They don't have size to give us problems, but they will force turnovers. It should be a good test to see if Orlando was a good run or the sign of this team's potential.

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